Confrontation - Know your enemy, was it Soekarno ?

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To all those who were in Confrontation, this thread is started. I do not know if the thread has been on a Forum before but if it hasn't let's hear from those who were associated with aviation in Confrontation [Konfrontasi] on Borneo.... There must be a wealth of stories out there which have not been documented from this "Police Action" which really was a War. We who were there know that it was a war, limited as it might have been. Let's hear some personal aviation stories from Borneo.... The trials, tribulations, stuff-ups and hardship of Confrontation...the Operation of Aircraft in a Tropical environment, a Jungle environment.
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To all those who were in Confrontation, this thread is started. I do not know if the thread has been on a Forum before but if it hasn't let's hear from those who were associated with aviation in Confrontation [Konfrontasi] on Borneo.... There must be a wealth of stories out there which have not been documented from this "Police Action" which really was a War. We who were there know that it was a war, limited as it might have been. Let's hear some personal aviation stories from Borneo.... The trials, tribulations, stuff-ups and hardship of Confrontation...the Operation of Aircraft in a Tropical environment, a Jungle environment.
http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Borneo/index.html Good starting point for an overview on the Confrontation.
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sukarno-my part in his downfall Towing Aussie Sabres out of the mud beside the runway after skidding off it!Picking up the drunken off shift in the land rover and driving them back to thier billets.The real enemy,"Victoria bitter" and "Tiger tops",the"crazy horse saloon"in Penang,I could go on but I am sure there are others who had a more adventurous war than me!
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I was only a teenager living at Changi when the Confrontation started to build up. First incident I recall was the surprise visit of a KLM Super Connie that brought Indonesian troops captured in West Irian. A Garuda Airways Electra 'sneaked in' and exchanged the Indonesian troops for some captured Dutch-sailors I think. This was probably the first time Indonesia had tried flexiing it's muscles. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/KLM%20SConnie%20Changi%2062.jpg The crew enjoy a break in the sun at Changi -KLM Super Constellation PH-LGE 'Pegasus' -11th March 1963. The next big incident I believe was when Brunei, a British Protectorate, was invaded by a couple of thousand 'rebels'. 48Sqn Hastings started an airlift along with the Twin Pioneers of 209 Sqn from Seletar. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Squeezing%20a%20LandRover%20into%20a%20Hastings-TG569-48%20sq-1963-.jpg Squeezing an Army Land rover into a Hastings. One of the regular 'Changi slip' Britannia's from Lyneham was in so it was commandeered and flew two trips on the first day and carried on during the 11 day airlift. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Britannia%20657%20loads%20Gurkhas%20headed%20for%20Borneo%20Dec%2062-S206Bgs.jpg Britannia 657 loads Gurkhas headed for Borneo. By early 1963 the situation was 'well contained' but 48 Sqns Hastings were regularly flying near the border and the Javelin's of 64 sqn started being used to provide 'fighter protection' http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/60%20Sqdn%20Javelin%20XH724-SS011A.jpg 60 Sqn Javelin XH724 armed with Firestreaks. The arrival in August 1963 of 215 sqn's Argosy's began to relieve the load on 48 Sqn and others like the 34 Sqn Beverley's. 215 Sqn started to have a detachment at Labuan undertaking the air drops and later began to use the short field capabilities to do 'tactical landing' flights. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Argosy%20107-215%20Sqn-Changi%20Aug1963-S934A.jpg 215 sqn Argosy XP107 newly arrived August 1963. Towards the end of 1963 a few 'spy missions' were being flown by the US Navy on our behalf...well the Yanks wanted to know what Sukarno was about as well I imagine. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/SkyWarrior%20905%20starts%20to%20taxy%20to%20repark-PLS493A.jpg Skywarrior from VAP21 'Heavy Recon' unit at Paya Lebar civil airport at the end of 1963. The RAF Brit is there because Changi's Western Dispersal was being re-surfaced. The Skywarriors took photos as they over flew Indonesian airspace enroute to Townsville in Australia. In May 1964, President Sukarno called for the destruction of the newly announced Malayan Federation and the Indonesians landed troops on the Malayan coast and dropped paratroops from a Hercules into Jahore. This concentrated the minds of the British who realised that the Indonesians had Russian Tu-16's and Mig 19s and 21's ...and so Victors and Lightnings were put on regular detachment at Tengah and Butterworth. Seletar now had Bloodhound missiles. Some local rioting caused a State of Emergency to be declared in Singapore during September 1964. Hard at work during all this were the Commando Carriers, Albion and Bulwark which also ferried both helicopters and aircraft for the Army. Pioneers and Auster's flying off the deck on occasions. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Albion%20RO7-Naval%20Base%20-63-S443A.jpg This is Albion at the Singapore Naval Base in 1963. There was always a Main Fleet Carrier in the Far East and Victorious was there in 1964 with it's newly installed Buccaneers. I should also mention the helicopters from Seletar. Both 110 sqn Whirlwinds and the Belvederes of 66 Sqn. The later losing Belvedere XG473 in May 1963 killing 9 passengers and crew. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/2%2066%20Sqn%20Belvederes%20and%20a%20Whirlwind%20of%20110%20sqn%20at%20Seletar%20late%201963-SSn153B.jpg Finally Sukarno gave in, I believe to pressure from his military but I believe he lost two Hercules aircraft. anyone have any details of this? David Taylor. Albion at the Naval Base in 1963.
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[QUOTE=Postfade;1392807] Finally Sukarno gave in, I believe to pressure from his military but I believe he lost two Hercules aircraft. anyone have any details of this? QUOTE] Superb pictures - thank you ! - I don't think it was ever confirmed but one of the C-130's was said to have been shot down, or crashed while evading a Javelin. It was (IIRC) played down so as not to escalate the situation. I started a thread on here a long while back after reading that it was claimed that one of the Tu-16's flew over Australia on a mission but that was never proved either.
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Thanks for the info BSG-75. WL745: Ahh the beautiful Aussie Sabres...probably out of date but with Sidewinders they still packed a punch I suppose. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Aussie%20Sabre%20A94-988%20at%20Changi%20Sept%2062-S512C.jpg Here A94-988 gets set up for display at the Changi Battle-Of-Britain airshow September 1962. DT
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http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Borneo/index.html Good starting point for an overview on the Confrontation.
This rather ancient colour film on youtube is also worth a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMvXaAEt0I4&feature=related Spotted myself in it:p - I was a member of the ?famous? Borneo Jet Force with 60 Sqdn (later 64 Sqdn) Javelin detachment at Kuching, in 1964-65. War stories to follow in a couple of weeks - off on my hols now!

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Indonesian Hercules loss... David Taylor asks about Indon Herc losses.....incidentally, David, excellent photos you post ! ... The Ghurkas had a strongpoint at Ba Kelalan in Sarawak which on Google Earth is shown as being 1 Mile from the border with Kalimantan. The Lat/Long is 3D 58'N, 115D 37'E. They were so close to the border that they lived undergound on rising ground overlooking the border. There was not much to see of the camp from the air. Ba Kelalan was eight miles from an Indon airstrip over the border at Long Bawan, which is South-East of Ba Kelalan. On a clear day you could see Long Bawan as you went flying past the border in that area. Ba Kelalan was re-supplied from Labuan and possibly the Navy with Wessex and 230 Squadron Whirlwinds had been doing the job before we on 110 Squadron Whirlwinds moved from Sarawak 3rd Division (Sibu and Nanga Gaat) to Labuan and Bario and took over the re-supply of the bases in that area around the back-end of 1966. 230 Squadron were moving back to the U.K.. It was said to me that a Hercules had left Long Bawan early one morning with paras on board and had headed towards Ba Kelalan and had been hit by GPMG fire from the alert Ghurkas at Ba Kelalan and was seen to turn back for Long Bawan streaming smoke and had crash-landed there and burnt out. That then would be the second one in addition to the one with the Javelin (which I did not know about). RPM, FF, TGT... www.electranewbritain.com
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Thanks for the info BSG-75. WL745: Ahh the beautiful Aussie Sabres...probably out of date but with Sidewinders they still packed a punch I suppose. Here A94-988 gets set up for display at the Changi Battle-Of-Britain airshow September 1962. DT
Strange how things work out isn't it? Here we have a thread on Indonesia's armed confrontation with the newly formed state of Malaysia. Aussie Sabres played a big part in the Commonwealth effort to repel that. David posts a photo of A94-988 which was part of the fighter wing at Butterworth during that confrontation. But what happened to A94-988 at the end of its days with the RAAF? It was transferred, along with several other CA-27s, to the Indonesian Air Force!! In March 1973, it became F-8615 of the TNI-AU. Last heard of displayed at the TNI-AU Acadamy at Yogyakarta, marked as TS-8615. See here: http://f-86.tripod.com/i.html And, here's another youtube clip. This time a Javelin "scramble" from Butterworth in 1966: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL0ILSGR8MI&feature=related

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Aussie Sabres going to the Indons.... Lauriebe: Quite correct. I could not believe it when I arrived in Australia... I emigrated in 1973 after leaving the R.A.F. ...... My first job was at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Fisherman's Bend in Melbourne. The were building Bell 206B-1(Aust) helicopters at the time (basically military JetRangers) and despite my expectancy of working on those (which I had been told I was to do) I was placed in the Quality Inspection Department. Later I did the QA Flight Testing side of those Bell's and some of them are still flying today. The very first job I had at C.A.C. was inspecting stainless steel cannon shell ejector shutes for the N.A Sabres.... Years previously I had visited Williamtown AB on a trip from SIN in 1962 and exclaimed that I was not aware that Australia still had Sabres.... The answer from one of the guys in the Inspection Department was a laconic "....Naw, mate, we give 'em to the Indons so the **********s kin floi 'em en attack Daarwin any taim they chuse..." Great... I just thanked providence that they hadn't had them earlier to use against us in Borneo. So those "beautiful" Sabres had ended up in Indonesia. "Sabre itu rusak Tuan" RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT... www.electranewbritain.com
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. The very first job I had at C.A.C. was inspecting stainless steel cannon shell ejector shutes for the N.A Sabres.... Years previously I had visited Williamtown AB on a trip from SIN in 1962 and exclaimed that I was not aware that Australia still had Sabres.... RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT... www.electranewbritain.com
This photo should bring back a memory or two then. Taken at the TUDM (RMAF) Museum at Sungai Besi a couple of years ago. They had just sectioned the front end of one of their display CA-27s to show the cannon arrangement. http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii52/lauriebe/TUDMSabreGuns.jpg
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I think the Aussie's carefully considered the decision to let the Sabres go to Indonesia though. Things had changed after Sukarno went after all. Malaya also got some Sabres too didn't they. That would have been interesting...Ex-Aussie Sabres on both sides. I know we stopped supplying Indonesia after the Gannets and the Decca radar kit was delivered...and by refusing spares I guess we help Indonesia go looking for arms from the Soviets. How long did they manage to keep the Tu-16's and the Mig's going for? I also remember one particular Indonesian Navy Albatross that visited Singapore regularly in late 63. I thought it acted as a VIP transport and it always seemed to appear at the same time as a USAF 13th Air Force (Hawaii)Sabreliner VIP aircraft. I wondered how much 'negotiation' was under way with Indonesia when Singapore and Malaya started the 'Federation' and whether the US was trying to help. DT
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David, you are right. The Malaysian Air Force also got quite a few CA-27s. IIRC, before the Indons got theirs. Also, IIRC, some ex-Malaysian Sabres were given to Indonesia after the RMAF retired them. I photographed this preserved example of an RMAF Sabre at the Langkawi Air Show on 8 Dec 07. http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii52/lauriebe/TUDMSabre2.jpg
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Excellent pics again David. I find the Indonesian and Borneo Confrontations a fascinating period of our military history, and appreciate all the info being posted on this.
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I loved the Belvedere's...anything 'twin rotor' is impressive I think. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Legs%20dangling-Belvedere%20XG475%20at%20Changi-S760B.jpg Here's a 66 Sqn machine leaving Changi to head back the short distance to Seletar. The crew decided to enjoy the view and cool air-hence the dangling legs! In the later part of 1963 everything seemed to 'put on the khaki'..... he's a 209 Sqn Pioneer in the new camouflage. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Pioneer%20XL703%20of%20209%20Sqdn%20gets%20into%20khaki%20at%20Seletar-S236B.jpg XL703 outside 390 MU hangar at Seletar. I suppose this reflected the seriousness of the times. Not just the 'Indonesian Confrontation' but the V-Bombers threw off the beautiful 'white look' because of the new low-level attack requirement and the American's were really getting in deep in Vietnam, so all their jets went 'camou' as well. http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Whirlwind%20XR480%20of%20110%20Sqn%20outside%20390%20MU%20Seletar-S402A.jpg Sometimes of course we got 'mixed up' colour schemes- typically camouflage with Day-glo like this 110 Sqn Whirlwind-also outside 390 MU at Seletar. I think the Confrontation was handled pretty well by the Brits, but I suppose we were looking after 'oil interests' then...and there's nothing new about that is there? Eventually Singapore decided it didn't want to give up it's forthcoming independance and left the Federation with Malaya anyway. David

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XR480 & Sing leaving Malaysia David, I have XR479 and XR 481 in my logbook a few times as being flown by 110 Squadron but no XR480.... I suspect that XR480 was being prepared to go to the SAR Flight at Butterworth and that's why it was partial dayglo. Yes, the Tunku wanted too much allegiance from the mainly Chinese on Singapore and Mr. Lee could foresee the powerhouse supplying most of the current for the lights in Malaysia ! As helicopter crewmen we did fly most times sat on the sill but wearing a monkey harness. As Flight Engineers posted onto helicopters we mostly hated the job and wanted nothing more than to get back onto four-engines. Two Groundcrew (and the pilot) had been killed on a 103 Squadon flight out of Kuching which strayed over the border on a re-supply run to a forward post. He missed the post and flew on and was bracketted by two of those multi-barrelled 20mm cannon things on wheels. Questions were asked in the house as to why Groundcrew had been flying on an "aircrew" task and the R.A.F. had no answer. Groundcrew flew regularly at first in order to keep the beasts serviceable in the field. The R.A.F. had to ask, "Who do we have who are 'technical' and who are aircrew....Ahhh ! the Flight Engineers...." Whammo.. off 4-engines and onto whining, groaning, air beaters.... I was off 4-engines in 1965 and didn't get back onto the Argosy until 1968. RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT... www.electranewbritain

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This photo should bring back a memory or two then. http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii52/lauriebe/TUDMSabreGuns.jpg
Lauriebe, Yes, it does..... the chute or chutes in question that CAC in MEL were manufacturing is the one under the Ejector Seat Triangular sign...the Stainless Steel chute that has two vertical slots in it which I think is the feeder chute and the curved one just aft of it which could be the ejector chute. CAC were building up a spares pack for each "export" and lots of bits came through the Inspection department. After the Sabre bits were exhausted, I then went onto the Bell 206B-1 (Aust) being made there at Fishermen's Bend. RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT... www.electranewbritain.com
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David's photo of Whirlwind XR480 and RPM, FF, TGT's comments on an aircraft shot down prompted me to check my records. It was, in fact, this aircraft that suffered that unfortunate fate. XR480 seems to have served only on 103 Sqn and, on 17 Dec 65, was flying close to the border with Indonesia and strayed across, being brought down by anti-aircraft fire. There are two fatalities listed: Flt Lt Albert Raymond Fraser & Gunner F Martin Re the day-glo panels, were they not there to aid in locating the aircraft if it went down?

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Whirlwind XP358 Lauriebe, If you have records for Whirlwinds in Borneo (which I would love to see, if it is a website, please post the .url...) check against XP358 and tell me what you see..... It might be interesting reading because I was on that Whirlwind when it became "a deceased Whirlwind".....on a hillside in Sabah near Kota Belud. While I was there 1966-1968, 110 Squadron lost three to my count. Mine in Sabah, one on a hilltop which lost a tailrotor near Tring doing Trig Work for the Army. This one landed back on the hill and nearly gave the crewman something exciting in the rear (!) and one which force landed on a gravel bank in sunny weather in 3rd Division Sarawak. That one suffered because it started to rain.....Oh dear, when they were picked up the crew and a pregnant Iban lady were lying on the rotor blades. "Know your enemy"... the Bristol Gnome...and other things... RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT... www.electranewbritain.com
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RPM, my records at the moment are pretty basic and by no means exhaustive. What I find useful for this period are two books: Lost to Service by Colin Cummings, & Broken Wings by Jim Halley. There are also some useful sources available on the internet. I normally start with a search on aircraft type and serial, refining from there. It seems that your XP358, far from being "a deceased Whirlwind", was recovered, repaired and returned to service. There is mention of it in January 72 as being coded 'S' on 28 Sqn in Hong Kong. See the left hand side of the bottom of page 4 on this link: http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/ABN%201972-1.pdf The UK Serials website shows it as finishing its days on BDRT at Gutersloh. No date given though. That site is here: http://www.ukserials.com/ Hope that helps.

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This a long and great thread, with even greater photos (!), but don't forget that Indonesia also threatened Papua & New Guinea, Australian Protectorates. So Australia nearly had a war with them. The following are dim memories of an old chap that will probably be corrected by someone. Darwin was our (RAAF) front line, and I well remember that we had the biggest exercise we ever had there (1961, I think). My job was refuelling Hercules, but we had just about every plane the RAAF had visit us when Sokarno was invited through on his way to Canberra. Sabres, Canberras, Lincolns, Hercules and Dakotas, all visited. The Sabres had only fumes left in their tanks, and some had to be towed to the tarmac! The planes all returned to their bases and Sokarno was given a tour of them. Unless he or his staff noticed the serial numbers in Darwin, they must have thought we had thousands of aircraft. That was probably the idea anyway. Clever move, that! Bri ;)